As the 30 days deadline given to Dana Air to pay the initial $30,000 to the families of those who lost their lives in the June 3 MD83 crash draws near, the airline said it has received completed documents from 50 families, just as it also disclosed that it has successfully contacted 119 of the 120 families.
In line with international standards, the airline is expected to pay the interim compensation of $30,000 within days of the accident, while the balance of $70,000 will be paid at a later date.
Speaking to journalists shortly after a requiem mass at St Leo Catholic Church in Lagos, the Manager Corporate Affairs of the airline, Mr. Tony Usidamen, said that the company was still expecting completed documents from the remaining victims’ families.
The requiem mass was held in honour of the cabin crew who lost their lives in the crash and they included Capt. Peter Waxton, co-pilot, Mahendra Perthore, flight executives; Onyinye Mgbenwa, Viviene Atangakak, Uche Ulasi and Godwin Eke
“As at close of business on Thursday, we have only received 50 completed documents .We have been able to successfully contact 119 of the 120 families .So the 50 we just received on Thursday are currently being processed by the insurers and I am sure once It is authenticated payments will be made to these families that have come forward. And as other come forward we will continue to make the payment,” Usidamen said.
On how prepared is the airline to pay the much awaited compensation, Usidamen said, “This is an international standard that Dana airlines is aware of. Long before now since the accident happened, we have already put machinery in place to ensure that payments are made promptly to all the families of those who lost their lives in the accident. Apart from sending members of our team to condole with the families, we have also provided long before now information for insurance claims. You have to understand that before we make payment, we have to get proper documentation from the families and to assist them we have created dedicated toll free lines so that they can get information”
Speaking also at the event, the Caretaker Secretary, National Cabin Crew Association (NACCA), Mr. Augustine Njoku, called on the Federal Government to make laws that are not only workable but that would make air transport safer for Nigerians.
On the amount of compensation that the airline is to pay to each cabin crew who lost their lives in the crash, he said that they are entitled to $150,000 each, assuring that NACCA will ensure that the compensation is paid to the last penny.
He stated that though human life cannot be quantified in terms of naira and kobo, he added that that the association will collaborate with Dana Airlines to ensure successful payment.
Njoku said that Nigeria as a country has the resources and the manpower not only to make the country’s air transport safer and to ensure that no airlines operate aircraft that is not older than 10 years, but regretted that the country lacks the political will to enforce this regulation.
Earlier the Parish Priest of St Leo Catholic Church, Monsignor, John Aniagwu, reading from the books of Matthew 16:13-19,Timothy 4:6-8 and Matthew 12:1-11 respectively urged the congregation to pray for the repose of the souls of the members of the cabin crew who lost their lives on June 3,2012.
He said that while praying for the these people, the congregation should also pray for families that lost their loved ones and Dana Airlines, adding that the crew that lost their lives while on their journey to Lagos never planned for death .
At the special mass were families of the crew who lost their lives in the accident, officials of Dana Airlines, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Aero and others.